Esteban Ocon, Renault, Algarve, 2020

Ocon “getting closer” to Ricciardo after settling in at Renault

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says that, after needing time to settle in and “understand” Renault, the closing gap to Daniel Ricciardo shows that he and the team are working together better.

What they say

Having returned to Formula 1 this season, after a year in the Mercedes reserve role, Ocon says his form improving relative to team mate Ricciardo shows that he and the team are making the right choices:

I’m happy that recently I’ve been getting closer to Daniel. It shows that we’re working better. We are getting closer to where I think I should be and that’s good.

It’s a good sign for the rest of the season. It took me a bit more time to settle in the team and to work [in a] way that we understand each other. And recently it’s been it’s been working well. So I think we have to keep going on that way.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Black says Alfa Romeo retaining Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen isn’t just a next year issue – as teams prepare for new regulations in 2022, there might be continuity issues if they don’t renew again after 2021…

Kind of a strange decision to be honest. Both Haas and Alfa Romeo should think also about 2022 when the new regulations kick in. They wouldn’t want to start the new era with two new rookies then who have no experience to fix whatever issues need to be fixed with the car then. So it’s better, not just to have an experienced driver coming in ahead of 2022, but someone who’s been at least a year with the team and knows how it operates to make the transition smooth. So they should better commit to a driver for at least the next two years.

Raikkonen and Giovinazzi are not that pair for 2021. It’s doubtful whether Raikkonen would stay after 2021 when he’s 42 and Giovinazzi although is not that bad and he has the experience, he’s not setting the world on fire to say he deserves a two-year deal.

At Haas if they bring in two rookies in 2021, they might find it difficult to fix the issues with the car in 2021 and help those rookies gain some valuable experience for 2022.

So in my view, if Ferrari wants to keep Giovinazzi in F1 and promote (at least) Schumacher somewhere, then they should place Schumacher in Alfa Romeo along with Kimi to help him gain experience in 2021 and learn how to ‘lead’ the team after Raikkonen (presumably) retires before 2022 and place Giovinazzi in Haas so that Haas has at least a ‘known’ quantity that has some experience and pair him with whatever rookie Haas has in mind.

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On this day in F1

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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26 comments on “Ocon “getting closer” to Ricciardo after settling in at Renault”

  1. Ocon is losing 11-1 in qualifying to Ricciardo. Last race he had the better tyre strategy and still only beat Ricciardo by half a second. Its a disaster for someone once billed as a future champion. Future champions dont drive this slow compared to teammates. I see him in Formula E soon. Renault should sign George Russell who is 33-0 against teammates in qualifying. Renault could be a solid 3rd place in the constructors if Ricciardo had a faster trammate.

    1. Yea agreed on that one, I was hopeful that Ocon might be able to present himself as a better challenge for Ricciardo but he just hasn’t. If he manages to get a couple of finishes ahead of fred next year I will be very surprised. If Renault had kept hulk I think they would be happily 3rd.

    2. Where would he go in Formula E? A lot of very good drivers scrapping for those seats and there’s been no evidence F1 sets you up for the series better than DTM or GTs.

      1. FE is the f1 rejects series, noone here takes it seriously and as such we use it as an insult to useless drivers such as Ocon and the like, surprised you do not know this Hazel.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          30th October 2020, 13:04

          Maybe she doesn’t read all the comments on here and assumes the site has a better standard of comments?

          1. Ha well, as the site’s FE correspondent I am used to it.

            But that was a serious statement about the FE driver market being completely rammed with talent. You don’t need to be superlicense-eligible or bring funding for an FE seat so the pool is much larger and teams are concerned more about getting the right driver than a big name, after a few high-profile failures with F1 transfers; Vandoorne and Wehrlein worked out because they enjoyed the series, Guttierrez and Massa didn’t because the car was never going to be set-up-able to what they needed.

    3. Both Russell and Wolff will know better than to go up against Alonso

    4. Hard to disagree there!

    5. I agree he’s been comprehensively beaten by Ricciardo. But to be fair, he was on the sidelines for more than a year, switched team, and was compared to one of the best driver today. So it make sense it took some time to be at 100%. It was about time he start reversing the situation, but if he confirms his progress, I think it make sense Renault keep him for a second year and decide later on his fate. Next year will be a make or break moment especially with Alonso sitting in the sister car.

      1. Call me a non-believer, but I can’t see the signs of greatness Wolff tried to pass about Ocon.
        How long it took for Schumacher to master the Benetton and dominate former champion Piquet? One race?
        How long did it take for Senna to master the McLaren and win the championship? One race?
        How long did it take for Hakkinen to get his first pole ahead of Senna? A couple of races?
        How long did it take Hamilton to give Alonso a headache?
        Yes, I know. There was a lot of testing and practice back then, but my point is either they have it or not.
        Verstappen’s 1st F1 win in a car he never drove before, that’s a sign.

    6. have to agree. Ocon has had the miles, yet even if he says so, he isn’t getting closer, besides, he is tainted, after what he did in pink. Russel paired against a fast driver would be great.

  2. COTD: Lots of speculation for nothing. Raikkonen and Giovinazzi could stayed at Alfa Romeo in 2022 aswell.

    And for the idea of: « Put Schumacher Jr in the car alongside Kimi for a year and he will lead the team », we have zero guarantee he will come better than Giovinazzi or anyone else.

    Haas with two rookies are setting for a 10th place constructor finish.

    1. Agreed… I can’t say I’ve been impressed by Gio in F1. But apparently everyone was expecting him to destroy Kimi, and I don’t think it was a fair expectation. Kimi is still very fast and super experimented, not an easy target for a roockie. If you compare to Russel, that everybody see as the next big thing (including me), he’s compared to easy targets. Makes it easy to look good… People seem to forget Giovinazzi did very well for his first (and sole) F2 season, finishing 2nd with 5 victories, so why thinking that Mick would be so much better ?

      1. I also think that Giovinazzi is underrated, but the whole point of the Ferrari Driver Academy is to get drivers who could one day drive for Ferrari. If Giovinazzi was good enough for Ferrari, he would be beating Raikkonen by now. (As Raikkonen was dropped by Ferrari, and he is surely worse now than in 2018). I can’t see Giovinazzi ever driving for Ferrari, so I am not sure why they have kept him in the second seat at Alfa Romeo. However, if it was Alfa’s decision, I think they are right to choose him because, for the short-term, Giovinazzi will score more points than Mick Schumacher would next year. Mick maybe has more potential, but by the time he starts to fulfill that he will be driving for Ferrari, not Alfa Romeo.

        1. to be fair, he’s kind of beating Raikkonen by now in points, but I agree, his overall performance has been inferior

    2. @jeff1s So saying that “it’s better to make any driver changes next year as the cars would be the same and any rookie would gain experience from a car with already ‘known’ problems and an experienced teammate next to him to measure him against… than wait for 2022 when everything changes and where every team will design a completely new car with who knows what sort of problems will need to be adressed then” is speculation for nothing?
      You could say teams should take each season one at a time and not make plans after that season. Yeah but smart teams do make plans a few seasons ahead, that’s why there are multi-year contracts with drivers and they start to design the 2022 cars years ahead, not wait until the 2021 season ends and then start to design the next year’s car and decide on their drivers.

      Kimi and Giovinazzi could stay till 2025 by the same logic… Unlikely as Kimi is 41 right now and Giovinazzi is definately not the next Ferrari driver by his performances and he could be easily be dropped next season (as most people speculated he was going to be dropped this season).
      Ferrari want to bring in Mick as they believe in him (and frankly it’s more likely that he might drive for Ferrari someday than Giovinazzi would). So is it better to put him in the Haas against Mazepin (another rookie), learn very few about him as he’ll be up against another rookie in a bad car, or place him next to Kimi (a known quantity) and see how much better or worse he is than Giovinazzi who raced the same car also against Kimi…?
      Plus in that scenario, Giovinazzi goes to Haas against a rookie, so he’ll have just as many chances to stay in F1 as if he’d stayed in Alfa, he’ll be up against a rookie (Mazepin presumably) so he’ll get to lead the team and show more his potential (if he has any) and Haas would get a driver that has at least some experience with F1 than two brand new inexperienced ones.

      1. Yes. Don’t see the need for change… and Alfa just renewed the pair for next year.

        Please create your own discussion instead of replying just what you want to say.

        1. Dude you replied to my original comment and replied back, where should i have replied to instead?

  3. The Adelaide decision is sad, but telling. Adelaide is one of the greenest states in Australia, surely it factored in to the decision. I’m really concerned for the Australian “supercar” (touring car) series with Holden dying and more pressure on everything becomming green while these V8’s euphoniously but wastefully roar around the track.

    They had a huge chance with the car of the future design attracting manufacturers and plans for international expansion, but it’s gone nowhere but backwards since then.

    Perhaps it’s time for an international touring car consolidation? Just seems so unrealistic for all these national series to survive in this ever-increasingly green climate. Either that or they start going electric, but electric touring cars are as far away as electric F1 cars I’d imagine.

    1. Yep, I sense the death of the competition coming… sadly. Hopefully it can morph into something decent.

    2. The cars themselves run on 85% ethanol but yes, the technology is increasingly archaic and irrelevant and now that the Ford/Holden rivalry is dead it’ll be interesting to see what, if any, base the series has to stand on. My guess is a fan base that gets a year older and a bit smaller every year.

    3. I feel the same. Supercars had some great momentum with the new car, and with five (?) manufacturers competing in the series, things looked good. But much like the World Endurance Championship, or the short-lived GT1 World Series, manufacturers come and go (go back a few years, and WEC was called the real challenger to F1, and what’s left of it now?), and suddenly the series is in crisis.

      Even though it might upset some fans, I would try to introduce green and affordable technology (if such thing exists) to the series to keep it alive.

  4. Re COTD: Yes, Gio hasn’t impressed massively, so replacing him with one of the three FDA drivers in F2 wouldn’t be entirely unjustified, although maybe the 2022 line-up could be Gio and one of those three instead.

    Portugal Resident: Unlikely to happen unless some more regular events get called off. No room for all.

    1. @jerejj Well if Alfa are commited to have Kimi + Giovinazzi in 2021 and Giovinazzi + rookie from 2022, then yes it makes some sense to renew Giovinazzi’s contract. But i wouldn’t bet all my money that Giovinazzi is a sure thing for 2022 and beyond. And if the situation comes that they need to replace him (and Kimi as he’ll eventually retires in the not so distant future), it’s better to have some continuity in their line up by replacing one driver per year and both of them in favor of two inexperienced rookies, especially ahead of the major 2022 regs.

      Plus the 2021 cars are practicly the same as the 2020 ones, so if Mick would have joined Kimi next year it would make for a better comparison on whether he’s better than Giovinazzi against the same driver in the same machinery.

  5. Same picture from a previous RaceFans round-up article?

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